Cruisin’ for a Bluesin’

The following story was told to me by a 68-year-old man who, though tipsy on red wine, is rarely prone to exaggeration. This is a true story, he said.

It came to pass that this father of three found himself on the same cruise ship as a number of jazz greats. Though the family patriarch, he’s the only one in his clan yet to appreciate that whole genre of music. Not too long ago, his daughters swooned for boy bands, and his son still fancies heavy metal with indistinguishable lyrics.

Dad prefers jazz. That’s why his heart skips a beat when he realizes that, across the blackjack table, is the leader of that motley jazz crew full of living legends. Fate would have it that the bandman was in a losing streak, while our hero is in a winning streak. In an instant, the bandman finds himself with a few extra $100 chips, courtesy of our father. The two get to talking, and hit it off.

Dad is a fan of every one of the greats the bandman tells him is on the ship, and our hero is thrilled to find out that all of them booking the same cruise was no coincidence — the bandsmen plan on having more than a few jam sessions back in their cabin, once the day’s planned festivities end.

Sooner than later, he gets invited to that night’s jam session. He asks if he could bring along his oldest daughter, and the bandman agrees.

I figure that these guys will be trippin’ all over themselves to impress her, and it’ll only make their sound better.

The daughter doesn’t give in as easily.

Daddy, I’m not sure I’ll like your elevator music.

Elevator music? Whose child is this? Holding back his rage, Daddy explains that he won’t be mad as long as she keeps an open mind and gives these jazz legends a chance. She has nothing to lose, he patiently explains. She agrees. Reluctantly.

The evening flies by. Chart after chart, standard after standard, all artfully tweaked with masterly improvisation. The whole time, Dad can’t stop grinning, and without a thought to the reaction of his daughter. He can’t believe that he’s in the same room as musicians he couldn’t afford to visit. Too soon, it’s all over. Tired, they return to the cabin.

The next morning, Dad finds his daughter sitting in the living area, a pensive look on her face. After a short time, and without goading, she turns to her father and says:

The stuff I listen to is shit. These guys, though? They’re musicians.

Happily, he embraces her. That’s my daughter.


  1. Ima Peccable

    I would have thought the son who listens to heavy metal would have appreciated the jazz because there are complicated metal songs, to really appreciate them you have to know alot about music and jazz is ultimately complicated, yet very enjoyable. (For example bands like Incubus and Red Hot Chili Peppers have jazzy sounds for rock music.)

    Anyway, it’s refreshing to hear the daughter finally wised up!

  1. 1 Those Liberal Kids « Off the Tenure Track

    […] and we kept talking music from there. He told me the story about a recalcitrant daughter and her horrible taste in music; he talked about his collection of music, and how he has excellent taste in […]




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